National Men's Open opens shop today
ONE of Asia’s oldest football competitions – the Philippine National Men’s Open Championships – kicks off its 2006 season with favorites National Capitol Region going for its third straight crown in Iloilo City today
Aside from NCR, which will have Southeast Asian Games veterans Ali Borromeo, Chippy Caligdong and Ian Araneta on its line-up, teams who qualified for this year’s edition are last year’s runner-up, Bacolod City, Masbate, Iligan, Zamboanga, North Cotabato and hosts Iloilo City.
The national championship was first staged in 1911, with the All Manila team winning the first crown.
Caligdong’s inclusion in the NCR line-up is sure to ruffle some feathers as he is one of Iloilo’s most famous football sons. Araneta, who saw limited action in the Seag as he was nursing an injury, is also from Iloilo.
Cebu will not have a representative in the national finals for the second straight year, but University of San Jose-REcoletos’ Heinje Ruiz was picked up to beef Bacolod’s team, along with Dumaguete’s striker, Redrick Viliran.
“We have a good chance of defending our title,” NCRFA president Pocholo Borromeo told Sun.Star in an earlier interview.
Bacolod, who will also have Seag campaigner Arnie Pasenabo in its line-up, will miss the services of former RP team member Joshua Fegidero, who is serving out a one-year suspension.
On the other hand, this year’s surprise team is Zamboanga City, who reportedly have some players who are from the Galatasaray reserves and will also have Mark Villon, another Seag veteran.